Major Development On Criminal Record Sealing In New York!
NY’s Top Judge Submits Bill That May Give Certain Past Offenders a Second Chance
In an important development surrounding criminal record sealing in New York, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman yesterday submitted a bill to the NYS Legislature that, if passed, would make criminal record sealing a reality for many deserving past-offenders. Yesterday’s action follows the promise he made at his 2014 State of the Judiciary address in February that he would soon be submitting legislation “to make New York’s criminal history record policies fairer and more rational.”
In his bill, New York State Chief Judge Lippman outlines the two-fold principal provisions of his measure – first being to add a statute to the Criminal Procedure Law (proposed new section 160.65) expressly authorizing certain individuals convicted of certain criminal conduct in the past to apply to a court for an order sealing the record of that crime; and second, making it unlawful to inquire about past criminal convictions that have been sealed.
In introducing this proposed legislation, Chief Judge Lippman describes the measure as being “prompted by the belief that, consistent with community safety and consistent with responsible attitudes toward the goals of penology, it is essential that we give greater meaning to the idea that a person with a prior criminal history can reach a point where he or she truly has paid his or her debt to society” – further noting that “by making it more difficult for past offenders to integrate into the community, it often generates even greater costs in terms of encouraging recidivism and greater and more costly demands upon local social welfare institutions.” The measure goes on to state that “studies show that the longer a convicted person goes without committing a new offense, the less likely the person will ever commit a new offense – pointing to data that has shown that “where an individual leads a law abiding life for many years after a conviction, the risk of that person committing a new crime reverts to the same level as anyone who has always led a law abiding life.”
Although the bill’s specifics may be changed as it goes through the legislative process in Albany, this is a landmark development in the movement to help thousands of deserving New Yorkers to move on productively with their lives and careers. As early supporters of the need for criminal record sealing in New York, and with CMG’s Rick Collins playing a prominent role in this area as the co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Sealing Committee, we are excited about Chief Judge Lippman’s submission of this bill, which echoes the work in this area done by the NYSBA’s Sealing Committee. Even more importantly, we are excited about the potential impact that this legislation, if passed, may have on the countless past-offenders who are so deserving of that all-important second chance.
To view Chief Judge Lippman’s bill to learn more about the specifics of this proposed legislation, Click Here. In addition, for more information about the status of criminal record sealing and the expunging of criminal records in New York State, call Rick Collins 24/7 at 516-294-0300.